Seven Hours of Hell: at the oars in Salem Sound

Six miles offshore in Salem Sound, Mike the lobsterman's motor quits. The seas and wind build. Mike puts to the oars. His boat weathercocks heavily, the bilge pump working overtime.

Weathercocking places a boat's bow head-to the wind - a benefit for seaworthiness, a bane if trying to head home in a stern-quartering wind.

Mike calls his dad via cell phone and refuses to call the Coast Guard.

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On the fly engineering: cold storage for lobsters: a bait freezer, bathtub, vodka and pump

Mike the lobsterman on the on-the-fly engineering a cold holding tank for his lobster catch. You need:

An old bathtub.

Plastic tubing.

Duct tape and spray foam.

A bait freezer.

Connect the insulated tub and the freezer with tubing, run antifreeze - no, vodka - through the line with a pump, and you're done. Mike's subtext of SHTF preparedness (generate your own electricity) happens to be green. He runs the rig off solar power he collects at his dock in Salem, Ma.

Lobsterman Mike on a bad day at sea and the world’s best bilge pumps

Lobsterman Mike reminisces on a day seven miles off Gloucester in bad weather and gives an endorsement of Rule bilge pumps, manufactured in Gloucester and ubiquitous on the commercial waterfront.

A 14' Novi hull, by the way, is a fast and able seaworthy little motorboat boat with a high bow and swooping sheer line. It's a good boat for 10-pot recreational lobstermen.

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